Scott Dowdle's blog

Screencast: History and differences of Xen and KVM

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I threw together a quick screencast for Dann from the Linux Link Tech Show explaining the history of and differences between Xen and KVM. Feedback is encouraged because I'm sure I have some mistakes in there.

xen-and-kvm-history.webm (36.2 MB)

Screencast: MontanaLinux Fedora 16 remix in KVM

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If you didn't notice, today is Fedora 16 release day. Yeah! I've been using Fedora 16 for a while now preping my MontanaLinux remix. I made a 41 minute screencast that does two things: 1) Showcases the desktop environments available in Fedora as melded together in the MontanaLinux LiveDVD remix, and 2) Shows using KVM and virt-manager some.

Please pardon my voice and occasionally sniffing... an allergy is bugging me.

fedora16-kvm-virt-manager-montanalinux.webm (85 MB)

Videos: Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2011

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Recently the Linux Foundation held LinuxCon Europe 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic. Part of it was the Embedded Linux Conference Europe held on October 26-28th, 2011.

The folks over at Free Electrons have done a quick job of making the videos from the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2011 conference available... and in webm format too. Below I provide my two favorites.

Enjoy!

BozemanLUG: October Meeting Report

David BorehamDavid BorehamThe October 2011 BozemanLUG meeting was last night. David Boreham from NuevaSync talked about the design, specification and features he came up with for the new servers they're deploying next month as part of a major service capacity upgrade project.

He only had a handful of presentation slides but spent quite a bit of time talking in depth about the current servers he is replacing, the problems he was trying to solve, and why he chose the various parts he did. Here are links to the parts he used:

Drives: Intel 710 Series 100GB and 200GB 2.5" SATA II eMLC Enterprise Solid State Disks
CPU: AMD Opteron 6128 Magny-Cours 2.0GHz 8 x 512KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache Socket G34 115W 8-Core Processor
Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-H8SGL-F-O ATX Server Motherboard Socket G34 AMD
RAM: Kingston 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC (quantity 8)
Case: SUPERMICRO CSE-512F-350B Black 1U Rackmount Server Chassis 350W AC power supply

The case is 1U high and wide, but only half deep... so two can fit back-to-back in a standard rack if desired... although finding rails may take some effort.

He had quite a lot to say about Solid State Drives, the voodoo that they do, and how most of them suck except for the Intel models he chose (100 GB and 200 GB). He had a bit of a challenge with various SATA cables (there are two types of right-angles) and ended up having to flip the SSD drives upside down in the case and attaching them with velcro.

Then came the hands-on portion of the presentation.

Two servers and a switchDavid brought three of his servers to the meeting as well as a switch and a laptop. They were all connected together via the switch and David was able to show us the web interface for IPMI-based out-of-band remote management system included in the SuperMICRO motherboard. He used a Java-based applet in his browser to do a graphical, media-less install of CentOS 6.0 x86_64 on the third server. The CentOS .iso disk image for the install was on his laptop.

David then connected to all of the servers via ssh to show us various performance metrics for the hardware.

For benchmarking the drives David used a tool that he wrote some time ago (diskspeed) that does a series of write and fsync operations. He ran diskspeed several times while using hdparm to turn on and off write-caching. For those who are interested, I hope to get the C source code from David for diskspeed and post it as an attachment to this post in the near future.

The hdparm commands he used were:

hdparm -W 0 /dev/sda (write-cache off)
hdparm -W 1 /dev/sda (write-cache on)
hdparm -W /dev/sda (show write-cache status)

David also used a local build of the smartmontools package to show many of the advanced parameters related to the SSD drive. He ended up working with one of its developers to create a patch that added additional support for the Intel 710 Series SSD. The smartctl command he used was:

smartctl -A /dev/sda

For benchmarking database performance he used a fairly large (~16GB) PostgreSQL database he had and the stock PostgreSQL benchmarking tool. He showed the performance differences between two systems... one with a traditional hard disk and the other with the SSD. The command line he used was:

pgbench -T 60 -j 8 -c 64

October 2011 BozemanLUG attendeesWhile the meeting turnout (presenter and 5 attendees) was somewhat disappointing, the attendees had a LOT OF QUESTIONS for David and we all learned a lot. David is well known for his highly technical presentations having given a number of them to the BozemanLUG in the past including: 1) How he designed and built his wireless business in the valley [about 10 years ago], 2) How his company worked on Red Hat Directory Server and solidified replication [about 7 years ago], and 3) How his company built the software for NuevaSync which included a lot of hairy troubleshooting [last year].

The wealth provided in this presentation wasn't necessarily in the specifics David chose for this project but with his explanation of the process he went through.

A big thank you goes to David and we hope we can get another presentation from him in the not-too-distant future!

Server insidesServer insides

MontanaLinux - Remixing Fedora 16

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I setup a local mirror of the Fedora 16 development repo and got to work on the MontanaLinux LiveDVD remix. I ran into a few minor problems but the 32-bit build seems to be working great now.

Now that grub2 is used by default and grub is also in the repos, you actually have to add grup2 to your package list in the kickstart file or it isn't there when you try to do an install. Check.

When using the sample KDE kickstarts to add to, make sure and remove a few of the really big packages you don't want or your iso may grow over 2 GB at which point a few of the later build pieces may get cranky. After removing a lot of koffice translations, octave, and a few other things... my iso went from 2.1 GB to a more desirable 1.8 GB. Check.

Packages that I noticed that disappeared in Fedora 16 that I needed to remove from the package list: agave and xfprint. Check.

Since grub2 is used the process of rebranding grub has changed and I haven't figured that out yet. In fact, I still need to learn how to customize grub2 since it is no where near as obvious as the grub.conf used to be for grub1.

New stuff in Fedora 16 I still need to figure out

Anyone got grub2 all figured out yet? From what I understand there are a number of config files, and then a few for settings... and then some process to build from those the config file. Editing the config file directly is a no-no.

systemd is now in full force and legacy tools like chkconfig and ntsysv still work but to a lesser degree. The legacy tools only show a subset of services rather than all of them and I haven't figured out yet how to get a complete list of enabled services from systemd.

"chkconfig httpd on" has become "systemctl enable httpd.service". I'm just not sure what the systemd equivalent for "chkconfig --list" is yet.

I still have to work on the 64-bit version but now that I have a functional 32-bit kickstart, that should be a piece of cake. I should have everything done before or by the official Fedora 16 release date which currently is set for 2011-11-08.


Anonymous Comments OFF for Now

I got tired of having to delete about 100 bogus comments from anonymous users every day. Anonymous comments were moderated so none of the spammy ones would get posted so it was a total waste of time to post them in the first place... but bots don't seem to learn.

In any event, I hate having to sign up for an account just to leave a comment on a site... so an alternative is to just email me your anonymous comments along with the URL that they refer to - dowdle@montanalinux.org. I'll give it a week and see how it turns out. I am NOT a fan of captcha so I don't want to burden all users with that either.

Site registrations have been turned back ON but registration requirements will be enforced.


Video: Ubuntu 11.10 Review

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For our Ubuntu fans as well as those who just want to learn about the upcoming release, I found this on youtube. I was hoping for HTML5 playback option, but this seems to be Flash only. The review was done from a recent release candidate that I believe will be the final release due out this Thursday. I still prefer KDE myself. :)

Video: Red Hat on CNBC's Mad Money

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I'm not much of a fan of Jim Kramer... but here's the video.

Flash is the best I could do. Sorry for the small size and internal branding/ads.


Videos: KVM Forum 2011 Presentations

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The KVM Forum 2011 was held at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, Canada on August 15-16. It was co-located with LinuxCon North America 2011.

LinuxCon and the KVM Forum were both sponsored by The Linux Foundation who recorded a large number of videos from both events. Unfortunately, The Linux Foundation had few security breaches to deal with on their kernel.org and linux.com domains which (I'm guessing) has greatly delayed them doing post-production work on the recordings and posting them publicly.

I found that Red Hat had recently posted a handful of the KVM Forum videos to YouTube but since they were only available in the flv and mp4 formats, I decided to re-encode them and post them to archive.org as webm (a free, open source, non-patent encumbered video format). I think archive.org is really a better place for them. Red Hat released them under a Creative Commons, Attribution - No Derivative Works 3.0 License. I have not altered the videos in any way other than re-encoding them to webm in a smaller resolution (624x352) and bitrate (664Kbit) making them one half to one third of the original filesize yet maintaining reasonable quality. Modern Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera browsers can play webm as can stand-alone players like VLC, Totem, and mplayer.

They are all highly technical presentations for those interested in the nitty-gritty details of the Linux KVM virtualization Hypervisor. I have embedded the first, short keynote video below and given download URLs for the rest. Thanks to Red Hat for posting them!

One thing to note is that the camera / recording is statically positioned and does not show the presenter slides so I have also included the links to the slide decks in PDF format. For a better understanding, you are strongly encouraged to look at the slides while watching the videos. Also be warned that some presenters may occasionally use curse words.

Here's a zip file containing all slide decks in PDF format for all of the presentations.

Alexander Graf - AHCI Doing Storage right 105 MB / PDF
Allen Kay, Intel - Intel Graphics Virtualization on KVM 57.3 MB / PDF
Alon Levy, Red Hat - SPICE Roadmap 88.9 MB / PDF
Andrew Theurer, IBM - Improving the Out-of-box Performance When Using KVM 210.9 MB / PDF
Anthony Liguori, IBM Linux Technology Center - Keynote Address Day 2 43.1 MB / PDF
Anthony Liguori, IBM Technology Center - Code Generation for Fun and Profit 128.7 MB / PDF
Asias He, Beihang University - Native Linux KVM tool 113.1 MB / PDF
Avi Kivity, Red Hat - Keynote Address, Day 1 36.9 MB / PDF
Avi Kivity, Red Hat - Performance Monitoring for KVM Guests 148.4 MB / PDF
Bryan Cantrill, VP Engineering, Joyent - Experiences Porting KVM to SmartOS 199.1 MB / PDF
Conrad Wood, ProfitBricks - Geographically distributed HPC Clouds using KVM 119.8 MB / PDF
Dan Kenigsberg, Red Hat - VDSM is now Free 145.2 MB / PDF
Daniel Berrange, Red Hat - Introduction to libvirt APIs for KVM 160.5 MB / PDF
Gerd Hoffmann, Red Hat - Fixing the USB disaster 148.4 MB / PDF
Jagane Sundar - Livebackup - Full and Incremental Disk Backups of Running VMs 136.2 MB / PDF
Jan Kiszka, Siemens AG - Using KVM as a Real-Time Hypervisor 132.6 MB / PDF
Kevin Wolf, Red Hat - The Reinvention of qcow2 148.1 MB / PDF
Lucas Meneghel Rodrigues, Red Hat - Making KVM autotest useful for KVM developers 152.1 MB / PDF
Marcelo Tosatti, Red Hat - QEMU: live block copy 72.4 MB / PDF
Mark Wagner, Red Hat - KVM Performance Improvements and Optimizations 107.3 MB / PDF
Markus Armbruster, Red Hat - QEMU's device model qdev 59.1 MB / PDF
Michael S. Tsirkin, Red Hat - Virtio Networking Status Update 86.2 MB / ODP
Paul Lu, University of Alberta - Low-Latency, High-Bandwidth Use Cases for Nahanni/ivshmem 149.5 MB / PDF
Paul Mackerras, IBM LTC Ozlabs - KVM on the IBM POWER7 Processor 164.5 MB / PDF
Ricardo M. Matinata, IBM Linux Technology Center - Implementing a Hardware Appliance 188.4 MB / PDF
Rik van Riel, Red Hat - Guest Memory Overcommit: Free page hinting & more 106.0 MB / PDF
Ryan Harper, IBM Linux Technology Center - Keep a Limit On It: IO Throttling in QEMU 89.7 MB / PDF
Stefan Hajnoczi, IBM & Paolo Bonzini, Red Hat - Virtio SCSI: An alternative virtualized storage stack for KVM 142.2 MB / PDF
Stuart Yoder, Freescale Semiconductor - KVM on Embedded Power Architecture Platforms 125.6 MB / PDF
Yoshi Tamura, Midokura - Network Virtualization 101.3 MB / PDF

Enjoy!

Video: Default to Open

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Red Hat produced a video entitled Default to Open: The History of Open Source and Red Hat. Since it is about history, it has a number of older clips... bits and pieces I've seen before but quite a bit of new stuff too. Enjoy it embedded in webm format or use the link below to download it for local playback.

Default_to_Open.webm (~27 min, 121 MB)
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